A central Alberta man filed a complaint with Alberta Health Services concerning how a café at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre was allowed to operate under COVID restrictions. (File photo by Advocate staff)

A central Alberta man filed a complaint with Alberta Health Services concerning how a café at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre was allowed to operate under COVID restrictions. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Central Alberta man questions why Red Deer hospital cafés allowed to stay open

Exemption issued by Alberta’s chief medical officer of health

A central Alberta man says there’s been a double standard at Red Deer’s hospital when it comes to following COVID rules for restaurants.

Patrick Radford, of Olds, said on May 20 he noticed tables for the customers at Jolt n Bolt coffee kiosk near the gift shop at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

“When you’ve got tables set up, you’re doing what you’re telling everyone else they can’t do,” said Radford who saw three people crowded around one of the small café tables.

“If I tried to operate a coffee shop you’d come along and arrest me. But at your hospital, you can run a coffee shop.”

Radford said he filed a complaint with Alberta Health Services on Tuesday.

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A statement from Alberta Health Services confirmed a complaint was received Tuesday regarding dine-in services at the hospital, and the AHS environmental public health team is following up with the individual to increase understanding and help resolve the issue.

AHS said that Jolt n Bolt coffee kiosk and the Garden Court Cafe cafeteria at the hospital are permitted to continue to provide food services under an exemption issued by the chief medical officer of health. This allows acute care and other healthcare facilities to provide dine-in food services for their employees, volunteers, patients, clients and approved visitors.

Both amenities must follow the most current public health requirements including ensuring individuals maintain physical distancing of two metres; prohibiting individuals who are in quarantine, isolation or symptomatic from dining areas; and ensuring all tables, chairs and shared dining surfaces are cleaned and disinfected after each use by a customer or employee.

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“Healthcare workers require regular hydration and nutrition to sustain themselves throughout their shifts, and are expected to remain masked with eye protection while picking up their food; perform hand hygiene before removing mask and eye protection, and again before eating or drinking in any of these designated areas,” the statement said.

There are also signs in eating areas informing users of physical distancing, hand hygiene and masking protocols.

Radford, who operates a paintball field, said COVID restrictions forced him to close his business, and hospitals should be particularly careful to prevent the spread of infection.

“If I tried opening my doors, I’m quite sure a peace officer, backed by the RCMP, would come along to put handcuffs on me.”



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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